Miss California Icon Promotes Music EducationCal State Northridge senior Shaniee Parker hopes to promote the importance of music education across the state after being named Miss California Icon – a new pageant which forces judges to consider factors beyond physical beauty.
The Chatsworth High School graduate is a music education and clarinet performance major at CSUN. She plans to seek a master’s degree in music at UCLA and become a university professor and studio musician.
Parker said her life changed once she became involved in music. Her grandmother plays the clarinet and piano, and her great-great grandmother played the piano and sang. Parker performs with the clarinet studio, orchestra, wind symphony, wind ensemble, studio ensemble, women’s chorale and chamber and was involved in the Mike Curb College production of “Ragtime.”
“I believe there’s no way you can be a human being without music,” she said. “Music is what brought my family together, and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
She believes that being in band encouraged her to stay in school.
“I think if every school has a music program it will definitely encourage kids to go to school, work with other people, do a lot of community service and work to make their community better,” she said.
The Miss Icon Scholarship Pageant is only in its second year. Parker said she was invited to compete at the pageant which was held April 6 in Cypress. Although initially unsure whether to sign up, she was drawn to the competition because previous contestants were strong on volunteerism which she enjoys.
Dani Walker, owner and director of the Miss Icon Organization, said Parker’s win was remarkable because she was competing in only her third pageant while other contestants are pageant veterans.
“She stayed true to herself throughout the competition, and the judges recognized her natural poise and admirable character,” Walker said. “She is not your typical pageant winner; she is a soft-spoken young woman who embodies elegance.”
Walker, former National American Miss Teen California winner, said other pageants place emphasis on the importance of education and community involvement while also focusing on physical beauty.
“Unfortunately, physical beauty, albeit natural or augmented, often factor into a queen’s selection process,” she said.
Instead of a swimsuit competition, the contestants compete in runway modeling and evening gown competitions. They also use a blind interview process where a partition separates the judges from contestants to encourage winners based on qualifications rather than appearance.
Parker said she will speak at her former schools and participate in parades and other events. She encourages young girls to surround themselves with the best people so they can help pull each other up.